In this era of digitalization, no business process has remained unaffected by the technological innovations that incorporate the use of automated tools for achieving the desired outcome. Human Resources Management is not an exception.

Whether it’s day-to-day tasks, such as recording attendance and entry/exit timings, or periodical activities, like maintaining payroll and conducting training sessions, or critical functions, such as hiring employees and evaluating performance, various aspects of human resources management are tackled with the help of dedicated application programs.

Recruitment, which is an integral part of running a business enterprise, is also carried out by using an automated system that pre-filters the resumes at the initial stage. An Applicant tracking system or ATS scans the resumes received with respect to the job advertisement posted by an organization. Shocking as it may sound, more than half of the applications get discarded by an ATS.

Why you should be worried about ATS?

The increasing number of employers, including companies that hire OPT students across different industries are leveraging ATS software for making their hiring process smooth, efficient, and accurate. Though the intended benefits of an applicant tracking system are to save time and efforts, many times, employers lose great candidates due to the algorithm applied.

Therefore, even if you deserve one chance, being the right candidate for the position, your resume might not get past the robots of ATS. While it’s a loss for both parties involved, the impact would be more severe on you, especially when you need a job urgently or the job market is tight.

In such a scenario, it’s important that you utilize necessary tips and tricks for creating a resume that can beat the applicant tracking system used by the potential employer.

Don’t know how to do that?

Worry not as we have revealed some secrets that can make your resume not only reach the hiring manager but also impress him.

Craft an ATS-Friendly Resume with our Tips

Keep in mind the following points for building an ATS-friendly resume. These points are useful for every job aspirant irrespective of the position or location of a job.

  1. Write an Impactful Title in Bold Letters

Just as your face reflects your personality, the topmost part of your resume speaks volumes about your caliber. Therefore, you must include a title at the beginning of your resume. This title should represent your current job profile and your suitability for the desired job title in a succinct manner.

Mentioning the job title you are applying for will make it easy for your resume to pass through an applicant tracking system. When your resume will make towards the hiring committee, your application will stand out from the rest.

  1. Replace Career Objective With Professional Summary

The career objective section, which was once considered to be a critical part of any resume, has now fallen out of favor. Employers are more interested in learning about the current goals and expectations of prospective candidates rather than their long-term career objectives.

Instead of your aspirations, write a professional summary describing your qualifications, experience, talent, expertise, and achievements that have been of paramount importance in the establishment and growth of your career. You should include keywords in this summary. We will discuss more on keywords in the next point.

  1. Include the Right Keywords Organically

Keywords are the essence of a resume as they help the reader (whether it’s a human or software) assess the relevance of the candidate with regard to the vacancy. Keywords are terms or phrases used for sketching out the job role and responsibilities. For example, the job title ‘Network Security Administrator Jobs’ is a keyword for the job applications for this type of role.

You can find the right keywords from the job advertisement as well as online profiles of people employed in the same or similar positions. You should use these keywords in different sections of your resume as organically as possible. Remember that stuffing the keywords might get your resume past the ATS robots, but it can lead to disqualification or rejection of your candidature by the hiring team.

  1. Opt for Simple Layout and Neat Formatting

As much as you want to highlight your academic accolades or professional accomplishments in a colorful box or a stylish table, you should never do it. An applicant tracking system cannot read graphical elements, and so, your vital information will not be entered into the system. As a result, you will be filtered out of the list of candidates. You should always choose the simple layout and neat formatting for your resume.

Name various sections of your resume as usual, for example, “Educational Background” and “Employment History”. For bulleted list items, use standard bullet shapes, like solid circles or solid squares. Keep the font-weight regular or bold, and font type normal. Steer clear of logos, images, charts, symbols, tables, shadings, unfamiliar section names, fancy typefaces, and light-coloured fonts. See these ATS-friendly resume and CV templates for example.

  1. Make your Resume More Suitable for the Opening

The applicant tracking system software utilized by employers in today’s time are more robust and intricate than before. Therefore, you should include as many keywords as possible. Along with core keywords, you should also focus on modified versions of key phrases. For example, if the job title is “Project Manager”, you can use the terms “Project Execution Manager” and “Project Leader” along with “Project Manager”.

Present your educational background and employment history in chronological order and reverse chronological order respectively. Include information about your previous jobs which demanded the knowledge and skills as mentioned in the description of the job you have set your eyes on. If the job titles of your previous jobs were creative or non-conventional, replace them with conventional titles.

  1. Don’t Include Crucial Facts in Header and Footer

Some applicant tracking system programs cannot read the information included in the header and footer of a resume. So, it is in your best interest to avoid using header and footer for mentioning crucial facts about yourself. Generally, job seekers include their contact details in the header. This should not be a cause of concern unless the employer has set filters for geographical location in their ATS.

You can create a separate section at the top or in the body of your resume for showing your contact details, such as temporary/permanent residential address, town, city, state, phone number, zip code, email address, and so on. This way, you won’t lose out on the opportunity provided by a prospective employer whose preferred location is the same as your location.

  1. Use Word Document as File Type for your Resume

You should follow the instructions given in the job advertisement for deciding the file type for your resume. Unless any specific file type is mentioned, you should send your resume as a word document to be on the safe side. Avoid PDF file format at all costs as the applicant tracking system cannot scan PDF files.

You can make your name, desired job title, and employer’s name a part of your resume file’s name. For example, if your name is “Ruby Green”, the title of the job you wish to get is “Warehouse Executive”, and the name of the company offering this job is “Healthy Food”, then the name of your resume file can be “Ruby Green-Warehouse Executive-Healthy Food-Resume” or “Application for Warehouse Executive-Ruby Green”.


Give yourself a pat on the back! You made it to the conclusion. Now, before you close the tab with a thought that all the points have been covered, let us tell you that something is still left. Every applicant tracking system software is designed differently. But the above-mentioned tips will prove to be beneficial in every case. You need to go through the job posting carefully to get an idea of the requirements, keywords, and terminology.

Wherever you are using acronyms in your resume, make sure to include the complete words as well. No need to panic over an increase in the number of pages in the file. Before submitting your resume, check all spellings and remove grammatical errors. You can also ask someone else to read your resume properly before sending it.

Last but not the least, it can never hurt to approach the hiring manager for discussing your application.

About Author:

Eric Lyons is a PR strategist and writer, with extensive professional management experience in the public and private sectors.



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